Time, Gifts, and Talents

Today’s Date:  Feb 07, 2010

What Are You Doing with Your Time, Gifts, and Talents?

Reading: Exodus 26:1-27:21 ~ Matthew 25:1-30 ~ Psalm 31:1-8 ~ Proverbs 8:1-11

S – Scripture:

Matt 25:29  – “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”

O – Observation:

I’ve been a Christian for many years and I’ve heard the two parables taught in Matt 25:1-30 many times. I often thought it just means I need to be prepared, as I wrote yesterday, the scripture says that we don’t know the time or day, and we won’t be able to do anything if we aren’t prepared – Jesus will return and we are either ready or we aren’t. This brings me to the parable of the servants who were each given bags of money to invest. I agree with the devotional by One Year Bible Blog (OYBB) so much so that I decided why rewrite what is obviously the same thing I observed in my reading today. Here’s an excerpt:

Today we read in Matthew chapter 25 verses 14 through 30 Jesus’ “Parable of the Talents.” This story of the three servants has often been a parable I have struggled with.  For a long time I didn’t get what was so wrong about the guy who buried the money. “He at least gave back to the master the same amount he was originally given,” I thought.  “What’s so wrong with that?”  Well, as I read this parable again, the thing that really stands out to me is that this parable is not talking about simply money. . . but I think it is talking about our very lives and our time here on earth.  I read it now as if God gives each of us a certain amount of time to live on this earth and a certain amount of gifts and skills.  And then, we have to ask ourselves – will we simply just go through life very stably & comfortably with those gifts and skills – perhaps even just going through the motions and serving ourselves – to the extent that when God calls us home, we have really not produced much of anything in our lives?  What if we spend our time & gifts in such a way that by the end of it we haven’t really blessed or served others?   We simply give back to God at the end of our lives what God gave to us and nothing more.  OR – is it possible that God is calling each of us to do so much more with our lives?  Is God calling us to really use the time, gifts and skills he has given us for something bigger than ourselves?  Is God calling us to produce a great harvest of loving and serving and blessing others in our lives?  So that when we arrive at heaven’s gate at the end of our lives we will hear verse 21 from God Himself – “The master was full of praise. `Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!'” How about your life today?  Are you multiplying the skills and gifts that God has given you in your life?  Are you investing your skills and gifts in loving service of others?  Are you at least “doubling” God’s investment in you?

If you’d like to read more click here.

A – Application:

I can apply today’s scripture to my life by praying through the gifts and talent that the Lord has blessed me with, to use all things for His glory, so that on the day of judgment I can hear the words, “well done, my good and faithful servant.”

P – Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I thank you for your love and faithfulness. I pray that I will be “awake, alert, and prepared” for your coming. I ask that you forgive me for my sins. Show me your will. I ask that you would help me to do your will with a joyful heart. Open the doors of opportunity where you need to use me for the gifts and talents you have given me, so that your people can be blessed by you, through me. Give me the strength and discernment – in Jesus name, amen.

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© elehua808 – 2010- All Rights Reserved

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When Will God Provide?

Today’s Date: Jan 8, 2010

Reading: Gen 18:16-19:38, Matthew 6:25-7:14, Psalm 8:1-9, Proverbs 2:6-15

When Will God Provide?

S – Scripture:

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”  Matt 6: 31-32

O – Observation:

Matt 6:25-34 Talks about not worrying about your daily needs to survive. God will provide. He describes the needs of the birds of the air, and that we, His children – are we not more valuable then they are? V26 – Believing that I as a child of God will have my basic needs met, I need to take steps not to worry as v 34 says, tomorrow will bring its own worries.

A – Application:

Based on these scriptures, God promises to care for us, by meeting our basic needs – food, clothing, water, shelter. It doesn’t say anything about our mortgages, debts we incur, etc.  What happens when we see people who don’t have the basics of food, clothing, and shelter? What happens in today’s economy when both spouses lose their jobs, their home, their belongings, where is God in providing for their needs?  I believe my duty as a Christian is to share that which I have, even if it’s less than what others may have.

My best example of God’s grace and provision is when I went to India and observed a ministry for homeless children, who lived along the railroad tracks.  The people who worked with them would try to get the children into orphanages and childrens homes, but the kids didn’t want to leave their other “family” (the other kids) who choose to stay behind. These children never knew where their next meal was coming from, they truly only had the clothes on their backs. They either ran away or parents abandoned them. They slept along the sides of the tracks and would catch the train (without paying of course) and go from one station to another. The police would occasional come and chase them away. We saw them drinking a strange looking liquid from a soda pop bottle, which we were told often times consisted of a mixture that would make them high. They also were known to “huff” glue or paint.

The outreach workers would visit the kids several times a week to befriend them in hopes that they would accept their help to go to school and enter a shelter. Sometimes the workers would bring the kids blankets or candy when they played with them, as they wanted them to get off of the streets and they didn’t think they would if they continued to provide them food & clothing – so they would visit without any handouts and the children embraced them because they knew the workers cared for them.

I was fortunate to visit the children with the outreach workers, along with a team of people from the US and other parts of India – we played games with the kids and gave them candy. The children seemed to enjoy our company and liked taking pictures with us. They didn’t speak English so we were given information by the workers.  One little boy came up to me and had two pieces of candy in his hand – he offered me one piece. I looked at him, shook my head and said no. He again insisted that I take it from him. The worker that took us to visit the children said I should take the candy, as that’s all the boy could do to show his appreciation for us coming to visit them. I was near tears. I could not see how a child who had literally nothing of material value, and didn’t know when he would eat again, would share his candy and not hoard it – like so many of us today. (I took the candy and when the young boy wasn’t looking I shared it with another child)  That boy wasn’t selfish, he was appreciative and showed love and care by sharing the only thing he had, an extra piece of candy.  Often, we want more and more – whether we have an abundance or barely enough we have trouble sharing, because we don’t trust that God will provide for us.

How do I apply this scripture verse in my life? I have been fortunate. When I look back on my childhood I never thought we were poor, we had a house, clothes, food. We were never homeless and I attended school and played sports.  We didn’t have a lot, but compared to much of our world, we were rich.  I have not only been fortunate, I have been blessed beyond what God promised to provide for my basic needs.  Even during the hard times of unemployment, illness, burn out, and the poor economy – I continue to see God provide for my basic needs. I have to trust that all the other bills, unexpected and expected expenses – God will provide and see us through. I have his Word on that. These are difficult times, however our country has gone through this in the past and has become stronger, and we pray that we will do it again. It won’t be easy, but He will provide.

Mt 6:33   “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

P – Prayer:

Lord thank you for meeting our basic needs. Thank you for the abundance of gifts and blessings beyond our basic needs through the years, even in difficult times. I pray that I will and am a good steward of your provisions and that we can help others in their time of need. Amen

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Giving Privately to Those in Need

Date: January 07, 2010

Title: Giving to Those in Need – Privately

Scripture Readings: Genesis 16 – 18:15, Matthew 6:1-24, Psalm 7:1-17, Proverbs 2:1-5

S – Scripture:

Mt 6:4 “Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

O – Observation:

The verses from Mt 6:1-4 talk about giving to the needy and how we should do it. Most often people want to be recognized for their good deeds. We want to get “credit” so we make sure people know what we are doing so that we can benefit by a pat on the back. I say most, because if you look at our society, it’s what politicians do, it’s what businesses do – they give to others and take “photo opportunities” or call press conferences, so everyone can see what they “did” so others can say what a good deed they did and get votes or more business because they did what was right for others. But it wasn’t an unselfish move, because they gained from the act of giving. The bible says in vs 2, that’s all the reward they will get.  However, as Christians we should give unselfishly, with no expectation of earthly reward, no parade, no acknowledgment. We shouldn’t give so that we can get more (business or accolades), we should give because we can and are called to do so.

A – Application:

Give as I would give unto the Lord, give to others in need in private as my heavenly Father will reward me.  When I moved from HI to FL I gave away pretty much everything I had. I brought my car, clothes, laptop, and a few little things. I just asked around if anyone had a need and had them haul it all away. People asked me why I didn’t have a garage sale or sell stuff on Craigslist. I just wanted to get rid of it all as God was calling me elsewhere and I knew that He would meet my future needs. I feel a little weird telling you this now, but this is about lessons learned and what I did learn is that I don’t need all the “stuff” I had. I can even get by with less than what I brought with me. I think in actuality, I could live with whatever I could fit in my car and if I didn’t have a car, I could get by without that too – it’s just a blessing I still have something – God knows our needs.

How appropriate this scripture comes at this time. This morning I read an article about several public schools in our district who are seeking warm clothing for kids who are coming to school in tee shirts, shorts, wrapped in blankets, or other thin clothing. Some just don’t go to school because they couldn’t walk in the unusual cold that has swept our state and many of the student populations in the schools noted are homeless and/or in poor economic neighborhoods where parents are not able to buy warm weather clothing. This is a call to action for what excess we may have – jackets, sweatshirts, gloves.

Sometimes we need to go through the process of having little, in order to appreciate the abundance, and then go back to the bare minimum.  As the old saying goes, we can’t take it with us.

P – Prayer:

Father thank you for the blessings and provisions in my life. I have more than enough. I thank you that I can share your blessings with others. I pray that you show me those who I may help and even if it seems like a stretch, that person may need it more than I, and it’s not for me to question you, but for me to be obedient to your direction by the Holy Spirit that dwells in me.

Lord help me to know and do your will. Guide me, teach me, mold me and make me into the person that you need to continue to further your kingdom. Amen ###